Our last week in Australia

It was time to seek civilisation again, not least in order to pick up the first of our cousies’ crew – cousin James; but we also needed water, fuel and more fresh food. Scurvy was still some distance off, but the boys’ complaints of brown bananas and rotten apples were gathering steam and starting to have some substance. We’ve found there’s only so far you can push disgusting food down a child’s throat, a fact that my father no doubt discovered many years ago when trying to persuade the rest of us to drink sour milk by downing half a pint of the stuff in front of us whilst camping in France. It didn’t persuade us one bit, but I do recollect a sort of revolted fascination at the spectacle.

Scarborough was our destination, where we hooked up with Rebecca’s old friend Debbie and her family, who welcomed us into the bosom of their home for an evening of food, booze and showers, without once mentioning the huge inconvenience of being descended on by a family of five just one day after moving into their sparkling new house.  It was sparkling somewhat less by the time the boys had finished the evening, and there was certainly no hot water left.  Debbie and Dave have two gorgeous girls aged 13 and 14yrs, and our initial meeting was filled with unspoken trepidation on both sides as to how our kids would get on.  Of course Luca was all good with the prospect, but Gabriel had looked utterly dismayed; “but they must have at least one boy?” he’d wailed.   So it was astonishing to watch the rapid transformation through phases starting with the painfully shy initial meeting: ‘I wish my folks hadn’t dragged me here, when will the world open up and swallow me whole?’, on to “wow, like, they’ve got car racing on PSP, AND they like Harry Potter?!” and into the final clinching phase “you know, Mummy, they’re not really like girls at all!”   What greater compliment could a 10 year old boy give?  Thanks guys for such wonderful hospitality.

Many people on the offshore cruising circuit complain about the passage to New Zealand.  It seems to have generated a long history of nightmare weather stories, and in fact we’ve met several yachts who’d love to visit but don’t fancy dealing with the high winds associated with a New Zealand landfall in spring.  NZ can be windy in Spring and weather can change pretty fast there.  The storm that brought vicious typhoons to Auckland two weeks ago was a good example, but we’re hoping the law of averages determines that this will be the last storm this side of our own return.  Despite all this meteorological doom and gloom though, the good news is that the predominant weather in the North of NZ is westerly, and we’re approaching on a south-Easterly route, so if it gets strong at least it’ll be blowing us in the right direction.

So we’re now pouring over weather forecasts each day, trying to predict the unpredictable – that is, ocean weather for the Tasman sea 10-15 days forward. We have the able assistance of our good friend Dave back home who bamboozles us with undecipherable statements like “the rate of the southward vector of the cyclone is governed by the pressure differentials along its path” and seems to be spending so much time drawing out forecasts that we’re amazed he’s still keeping his business going, but it’s all great info to help with the Big Decision: when to depart.

We picked up James ‘action man’ Johnstone from Scarborough Marina, fresh off the plane from his sisters’ 50th birthday party in Sydney and looking a tad green with it.  We’d planned to pick him up and sail straight out to Moreton Island, so the poor guy barely got a welcome hug before his bag were chucked onboard and we were off, eager to make our anchorage before sunset.  We figured a few days snorkelling and fishing would help pass the time, and sleeping in a rolly swell-dominated anchorage would speed up our sea leg re-acquisition.  And since then we’ve sat happily at anchor back at Tangalooma Wrecks, thoroughly enjoying our last few days of Australian cruising with the added impetus provided by the indefatigable humour and momentum of my cousin. The big departure day approaches and the forecasts are indicating light winds for at least the first half of the trip, so a Saturday departure looks on the cards.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michael
    Dec 13, 2012 @ 23:18:03

    Good Luck and I may the wind blow up your bums. You leave on Saturday and Mele comes home on Saturday. Must be a good omen!
    Fred you have always wanted to do a single handed trans-tasman. Pick a hull and don’t let anyone venture across that line.

    Reply

  2. Debbie
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 14:36:35

    Its been lovely meeting you all and having your cheeky chaps around. Hope the cyclone doesn’t delay your return leg too long – not that we want to get rid of you, honest !!!!

    Reply

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